single-channel video, light stands, wood, footnote (a text to be placed in a variable manner)
3:36 minutes, continuous loop, sound
Les Samouraïs encapsulates the opening scene from the French film classic, Le Samouraï (1967), by Jean-Pierre Melville. Through image and sound, the work makes an alteration to Melville’s original by adding one more bird to the opening scene. The simple gesture foils the film’s evaluation of isolation and interiority and fictitiously modifies an occurrence within historical reality.
An auteur to the fullest, Jean-Pierre Melville wrote, directed, and edited his films in Studios Jenner, situated in the 13th arrondissement in Paris. While finishing Le Samouraï, the studio was completely destroyed by a fire, and the bird from the film (which Melville had adopted) was the only casualty.
The film moves through the pending death of Alain Delon’s character—an assassin who adheres to a life of solitude and detachment. In the opening scene he finishes a cigarette in bed, walks over to the bird, and then puts on his trench coat and hat before closing the door behind him to face the world outside. The only creature he truly connects with is his pet bird, a caged female finch that lives with him in his modest apartment.